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Archive for Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Community shelter’s permit extended

June 7, 2006

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Lawrence Community Shelter dodged a public-policy bullet Tuesday.

The City Commission voted to accept the program's plan for improving neighborhood relations, adding nine months to its conditional use permit.

"I appreciate their decision," said shelter director Loring Henderson.

Earlier, city officials had tied the permit to the homeless shelter's coming up with a plan for soothing its long-strained relations with nearby tenants, homeowners and businesses.

Without the permit, the shelter would have been forced to close or move.

Though unanimous, the commission's vote was less than enthusiastic.

"We asked the shelter to come up with a plan and : they've come up with a plan," said Mayor Mike Amyx, quickly noting that the shelter at 944 Ky. was in a building that's too small and in a location that's fast becoming a nightmare.

Amyx said he hoped he and Henderson would spend the "next seven months" finding an alternate location.

"That was music to me," Henderson said afterward. "We don't want to be there, either."

The shelter's plan called for regular meetings with police, neighborhood forums and encouraging neighbors to call, write or e-mail Henderson with their concerns.

Also, several rules have been enacted to address complaints of trespassing, drug use, drunkenness and aggressive panhandling.

Henderson said many of the neighborhood's concerns have been - and continue to be - addressed.

Neighbors Brandy Sutton and Phil Hemphill scoffed at Henderson's assessment, saying it would only lead to more meetings.

"How many meetings do we have to have before something happens?" said Hemphill, who lives across the street from the shelter.

Sutton, an attorney whose office is within a block of the shelter, asked the commission to direct the shelter to impose stiff penalties for anti-social behavior, install security cameras, protect those who report criminal activity, give police authority to enter the premises without permission, and insist on the homeless providing identification.

Some "known drug dealers" and convicted sex offenders hang out at the shelter, Sutton said, adding that both should be banned.

Sutton and Hemphill's comments were countered by Sharilyn Wells, an advocate for the mentally ill. She reminded the assembly that Lawrence has neither an inpatient mental health unit nor a detox program.

"Where is it we think these people are going to go?" Wells asked. "The only place is jail."

Commissioner David Schauner said he would accept the plan if Henderson cited specific penalties for bad behavior.

Henderson said that he would. Afterward, he said the ranks of the homeless include convicted felons and sex offenders.

Troublemakers, Henderson said, are routinely banned from the shelter, the Salvation Army and the LINK meal program.

Also, he said, the homeless are expected to provide identification.


Clarification

A story Wednesday on the Lawrence City Commission's decision to extend the Lawrence Community Shelter's conditional use permit reported that Brandy Sutton said "known drug dealers" and convicted sex offenders hang out at the shelter, and that both should be banned. In an e-mail to the Journal-World, Sutton requested the following clarification: "I said that there are known drug dealers hanging around the shelter and that registered sex offenders and those with outstanding warrants should not be permitted to use the LCS facility."

Comments

Kelly Powell 8 years, 6 months ago

No way man, that place screams go cart track/roller rink/paintball arena....let's make some money off that white elephant.

geekin_topekan 8 years, 6 months ago

Just like illegal alien reform,homeless reform only effects the ones that are willing to follow the plan. And just like alien reform,Lawrence should consider their own actions while they complain. "Go after the one's who employ them,then they won't have incentive to come here"is what I hear about illegals. So,go after the ones that give the bums a handout.Make it a crime to pass the bums a dime.Or in my case a buck or two. That way Loring would be a criminal and so would the Link and Aunt Sally's.

BJ 8 years, 6 months ago

Henderson did his usual BS PR. Talk talk talk, lie lie lie, but no action. And the City Commission? Approving a "plan" full of the same empty promisses as the last 5 years. Let's get ready for their "block party". Fits right in with there theme: let's have another drink, smoke another joint and shoot up one more time. It's progressive Lawrence. Yipee!

geekin_topekan 8 years, 6 months ago

No matter where you put the actual drop out center the only ones that will move out to it are the ones you don't see downtown.The ones who are volunteering there spare time to the shelter or taking the classes or going to DCCCA.And they are the ones you don't see anyway. The alley guys and the ones getting freaky in the park have always been and will always be downtown and in the south park 9th street area no matter what. Move the drop out shelter and you remove nothing.Nada.you will see no difference whatsoever.

BJ 8 years, 6 months ago

A "wet" shelter does not work; never has, never will. No matter where the shelter goes to, and believe me it can not be SOON enough, they still need to deal with their "wet" theory. Schauner said it best (and was the only one to say it): "I want to see accountability".

ACCOUNTABILITY: responsibility to someone or for some activity

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

When the new underground parking garage for the new giant library is completed, we won't need homeless shelters.

BJ 8 years, 6 months ago

"Just how much will the lesson cost the city?" Maybe another murder on their hands.

"this is the public DRUNK TANK" Yes, in our back yard, on our money, and amongst our children.

Michael Birch 8 years, 6 months ago

I think we should all look at the new shelter as a good

positive thing! Besides, this is Lawrence and it is our

moral and civil duty to offer whatever help we can to

these poor deginerate transients that for some reason

want to travel through town. Why not make sure that

are feed good too! Who knows, I might go and eat

over there of spend the night sometime when I'm

down and out homeless myself!

Dude

manuel43 8 years, 6 months ago

No mater where u go there are going to be people who take advantage of the system. this place does alot for the community. As for the drug dealers and users that is the polices' job to get these people off the steet. To some of these people that have written statements above, if their house burnt down or lost their job, go down to the city union mission in kansas city and live instead of lawrence since it is so bad out here. lawrece is setting a good example for other cities. Mabey some of these people should pick up a bible and see what jesus has to say about it!

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